Created byNorman Lear
Directed by
Theme music composer
Opening theme"And Then There's Maude"
Performed by Donny Hathaway
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes141 (list of episodes)
Executive producerNorman Lear
Production locations
Running time30 minutes
Production companyTandem Productions
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 12, 1972 (1972-09-12) –
April 22, 1978 (1978-04-22)

Maude is an American sitcom television series that was originally broadcast on the CBS network from September 12, 1972, until April 22, 1978. The show was the first spin-off of All in the Family, on which Bea Arthur had made two appearances as Maude Findlay, Edith Bunker's favorite cousin. Like All in the Family, Maude was a sitcom with topical storylines created by producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin.

Maude stars Bea Arthur as Maude, an outspoken, middle-aged, politically liberal woman living in suburban Tuckahoe, New York with her fourth husband, household appliance store owner Walter Findlay (Bill Macy). Maude embraces the tenets of women's liberation, always votes for Democratic Party candidates, and advocates for civil rights and racial and gender equality. Her overbearing and sometimes domineering personality often gets her into trouble when speaking about these issues.

Unusually for an American sitcom, several episodes (such as "Maude's Night Out" and "The Convention") featured only the characters of Maude and her husband Walter, in what amounted to half-hour "two-hander" teleplays. In the season four episode "The Analyst" (sometimes referred to as "Maude Bares Her Soul"), Arthur as Maude, speaking to an unseen psychiatrist, was the sole actor on screen for the entire episode.[1]

The show's theme song, "And Then There's Maude", was written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and Dave Grusin, and performed by Donny Hathaway.


Walter and Maude

Maude first appears in two season-two episodes of All in the Family: the first in December 1971 as a visitor to the Bunker home, and the second, a backdoor pilot setting up the premise of the Maude series, in March 1972. She is Edith Bunker's (Jean Stapleton) favorite cousin who has been married four times. Her first husband, Barney, died shortly after their marriage. She divorced the next two, Albert and Chester. Albert was never portrayed on screen, but the episode "Poor Albert" revolved around his death, while her second former husband Chester appeared once on the show, played by Martin Balsam.

Her fourth and current husband, Walter Findlay (played by Bill Macy), owns an appliance store called Findlay's Friendly Appliances. Maude and Walter met just before the 1968 presidential election. Maude sometimes gets in the last word during their many arguments with her hallmark catchphrase, "God'll get you for that, Walter", which came directly from Bea Arthur.[2] Maude's deep, raspy voice is also an occasional comic foil whenever she answers the phone and explaining in one episode, "No, this is not Mr. Findlay; this is Mrs. Findlay! Mr. Findlay has a much higher voice."

Maude's daughter, Carol Traynor, played by Adrienne Barbeau – in the All in the Family pilot episode the character was played by Marcia Rodd – is also divorced and has one child, like Maude. Carol and her son, Phillip (played by Brian Morrison in seasons 1-5 and by Kraig Metzinger in the sixth), live with the Findlays. Though single, Carol maintains her reputation of dating many men.

She dates various men throughout the early seasons, later forming a serious relationship with a man named Chris (played by Fred Grandy). Grandy left at the end of the second season. Like her mother, Carol is an outspoken liberal feminist who is not afraid to speak her mind, though they often clash. There are conflicting accounts as to whether Carol's father was Maude's first or second husband. In the series' first episode, "Maude's Problem", Maude reveals to Carol's psychiatrist that Carol's father was her second husband.

Dr. Arthur Harmon

The Findlays' next-door neighbors are Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain), a stuffy, sardonic Republican, and his sweet but scatterbrained second wife Vivian (Rue McClanahan). McClanahan confirmed in an interview with the Archive of American Television that she was approached by Norman Lear during the taping of the All in the Family episode "The Bunkers and the Swingers" (1972) to take on the role as a late replacement for Doris Roberts, the original choice for the part.[3]

Arthur has been Walter's best friend since the two served together in World War II. He was the one who brought Walter and Maude together in 1968 and "affectionately" calls Maude "Maudie." Vivian and Maude have been best friends since college. At the beginning of the series, Arthur is a widower. Vivian is introduced in a guest appearance that focused on her split with her first husband. She later got involved with Arthur as a divorcée.

The housekeepers

For the entire run of the show, Maude also has a housekeeper. At the beginning of the series, Maude hires Florida Evans (Esther Rolle), a no-nonsense black woman who often has the last laugh at Maude's expense. Maude often makes a point of conspicuously and awkwardly demonstrating how open-minded and liberal she is. Florida almost quits because of this. Despite Florida's status as a maid, Maude emphasizes to Florida that they are "equals," and insists she enter and exit the house via the front door, even though the back door is more convenient for Florida.

Maude and Mrs. Naugatuck

Rolle's character was so popular that, in 1974, she became the star of her own series, Good Times. In the second-season episode titled "Florida's Goodbye", Florida's husband Henry (John Amos) gets a promotion at his job, and Florida quits to become a full-time housewife. Whereas Maude took place in New York, Good Times took place in Chicago, with numerous other differences in Florida's situation, such as her husband being called James Evans[4] – "Henry" being the name of James's long-lost father.

After Florida's departure in 1974, Maude hires a new housekeeper, Mrs. Nell Naugatuck (Hermione Baddeley), an elderly, somewhat vulgar, British widow who drinks excessively and lies compulsively. Unlike Florida, who commuted to work, Mrs. Naugatuck lives with the Findlays. She meets and begins dating Bert Beasley (J. Pat O'Malley), an elderly cemetery security guard, in 1975. In 1977, they marry and move to Ireland to care for Bert's mother. Mrs. Naugatuck's frequent sparring with Maude is, arguably, just as comically popular as Florida's sparring. The difference is that Mrs. Naugatuck often seems to dislike Maude, whereas Florida, on occasion, finds Maude frustrating.

Lear said the last name "Naugatuck" was taken directly from the town of Naugatuck, Connecticut, which he found amusing. Due to the popularity of Maude, Baddeley visited the town in the late 1970s and was given a warm, official ceremony at the town green.

Maude then hires Victoria Butterfield (Marlene Warfield),[5] a native of Saint Norman in the West Indies, whom Maude initially accuses of stealing her wallet on the subway. Victoria remains until the end of the series in 1978. The character of Victoria was never as popular as her two predecessors, and she was seen only sporadically and was not credited as a series regular.

Series history, topicality, and controversy

Main article: List of Maude episodes

The character of Maude Findlay was loosely based on creator Norman Lear's then-wife Frances.[6][7] She first appeared on two episodes of All in the Family as Edith Bunker's cousin. A "Cousin Maud," with a similar role, had also appeared on an episode of Till Death Us Do Part, the British series on which All in the Family had been based. Maude represented everything Archie Bunker did not: she was a liberal, feminist, upper-middle-class Democrat, whereas Archie was a conservative, prejudiced, working-class Republican.

Maude's political beliefs were closer to those of the series creators than Archie Bunker's, but the series often lampooned Maude as a naive "limousine liberal". They did not show her beliefs and attitudes in an entirely complimentary light. Just before the show's premiere in September 1972, TV Guide described the character of Maude as "a caricature of the knee-jerk liberal."

Maude as the Statue of Liberty

While the show was conceived as a comedy, the scripts also incorporated much darker humor, drama and controversy.[8] Maude took Miltown, a mild tranquilizer, and also Valium; she and her husband Walter began drinking in the evening. Maude had an abortion in November 1972, two months before the Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal throughout the U.S., and the episodes that dealt with the situation are probably the series' most famous and most controversial. Maude, at age 47, was dismayed to find herself unexpectedly pregnant. Her daughter Carol brought to her attention that abortion had become legal in the state of New York.[9]

After some soul-searching, and discussions with Walter, who agreed that raising a baby at their stage of life was not what they wanted to do, Maude decided at the end of the two-part episode that abortion was probably the best choice for their lives and their marriage. Noticing the controversy around the storyline, CBS decided to rerun the episodes in August 1973, and members of the country's clergy reacted strongly to the decision. Thirty-nine stations pre-empted the episode.[9] The two-part episode was written by Susan Harris, who would work with Bea Arthur again later on The Golden Girls.[10]

The producers and the writers of the show tackled other controversies.[11] In a story arc that opened the 1973–74 season, Walter came to grips with his alcoholism and subsequently had a nervous breakdown. The beginning of the story arc had Maude, Walter, and Arthur enjoying a night of revelry. However, Maude panicked when she awoke the following morning to find Arthur in her bed. This alarmed her to the point that both of them swore off alcohol entirely. Walter could not do it ("Dean Martin gets a million dollars for his buzz") and became so frustrated during his attempts to stop that he struck Maude. Afterward, he suffered a breakdown as a result of his alcoholism and guilt over the domestic violence incident. The arc, which played out in two parts, was typically controversial for the show but gained praise for highlighting how social drinking can lead to alcoholism.[12][13]

The first-season episode "The Grass Story" tackled the then-recent Rockefeller Drug Laws, as Maude and her well-meaning housewife friends try to get arrested in protest over a grocery boy's tough conviction for marijuana possession. The severity of the marijuana laws contrasted with the characters' lax attitudes toward drinking and prescription pill abuse.

In season four, Maude had a session with an analyst, in which she revealed insecurities about her life and marriage and talked through memories from her childhood. The episode was a solo performance by Beatrice Arthur.

During the fifth season, Walter suffered another nervous breakdown, this time even attempting suicide, when he saw his business go bankrupt.

The Nielsen ratings for Maude were high, in particular, during the first seasons of the program, during the heyday of topical sitcoms, which its presence helped to create, when it was regularly one of the top-ten highest-rated American television programs in any given week.

In Great Britain, Maude was not shown nationally. It was shown beginning in 1975 in the ITV regions of Scottish,[14] Westward,[15] Border,[16] Tyne Tees,[16] Anglia,[17] Yorkshire,[18] Granada[19] and Channel.[20] Satellite station Sky One ran the series in the early/mid-1990s.

Series ending

In the fifth season, Maude dropped from No. 4 to No. 31 in the Nielsen ratings as its lead-ins Rhoda and Phyllis began to struggle. Public taste had abruptly shifted from "relevant" Norman Lear productions and the MTM company's sophisticated comedies toward escapist fare like ABC's Laverne & Shirley and Three's Company. In the sixth season, ratings dived further, and Lear revamped the format. In the last three episodes of that season, the fictional governor of New York appointed Maude as a congresswoman from Tuckahoe, as a Democrat during the 1978 U.S. midterm elections. She helped campaign for a congresswoman who unexpectedly died in her home. Maude and husband Walter moved to Washington, D.C., and the rest of the regular cast would be written out of the show in a prospective season seven.[21]

In spring 1978, Bea Arthur said she would leave the series. At least one TV columnist reported that CBS had already decided to cancel the show because of low ratings, and Arthur's announcement was an attempt to save face.[22] Lear still liked the concept of a member of a minority group in Congress, and it evolved into the pilot Mr. Dugan, with Cleavon Little replacing Arthur as the lead character. The show was scheduled for a March 1979 premiere, but negative feedback from black members of Congress, granted an advance screening, resulted in CBS deciding not to air the three episodes taped. Lear reworked the project into Hanging In, with Bill Macy playing a former professional football player turned university president. Premiering in the summer of 1979, the show didn't find an audience and was canceled after four episodes.


Main article: List of Maude episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankRating
First airedLast aired
122September 12, 1972 (1972-09-12)March 20, 1973 (1973-03-20)424.7
224September 11, 1973 (1973-09-11)March 5, 1974 (1974-03-05)623.5
323September 9, 1974 (1974-09-09)March 31, 1975 (1975-03-31)924.9
424September 8, 1975 (1975-09-08)March 15, 1976 (1976-03-15)425.0
524September 20, 1976 (1976-09-20)April 4, 1977 (1977-04-04)31[23]19.9[23]
624September 12, 1977 (1977-09-12)April 22, 1978 (1978-04-22)75[24]15.2[24]

Home media

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first season of Maude on DVD in Region 1 in March 2007.

In August 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment announced it had acquired the rights to various television series from the Sony Pictures library including Maude.[25] Mill Creek re-released the first season on DVD inn February 2015.[26]

In December 2014, Shout! Factory announced it had acquired the rights to the series. It released the complete series on DVD in March 2015. Among the bonus features, the set includes the two Second season episodes of All in the Family, which introduced Maude ("Cousin Maude's Visit" and "Maude"); two previously unaired episodes of Maude ("The Double Standard" and "Maude's New Friends"); the Syndicated Sales Presentation, hosted by Norman Lear; as well as three featurettes called "And Then There's Maude: Television's First Feminist"; "Everything but Hemorrhoids: Maude Speaks to America"; and "Memories of Maude" with interviews by Adrienne Barbeau and Bill Macy, along with newly discovered interviews with Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Maude director, Hal Cooper.[27]

In 2015, Shout! began releasing individual season sets. The second season was released in August 2015, the third season in November 2015,[28] the fourth season in March 2016,[29] the fifth season in June 2016,[30] and the sixth and final season in August 2016.[31]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 22 March 20, 2007
February 3, 2015 (re-release)
The Complete Second Season 24 August 11, 2015
The Complete Third Season 23 November 10, 2015
The Complete Fourth Season 24 March 22, 2016
The Complete Fifth Season 24 June 14, 2016
The Complete Sixth Season 24 August 9, 2016
The Complete Series 141 March 17, 2015

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Results Ref.
1972 Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series Bill Hobin (for "Maude's Dilemma") Nominated [32]
1973 Hal Cooper Nominated [33]
1975 Nominated [34]
1976 Hal Cooper (for "Vivian's First Funeral") Nominated [35]
1972 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated [36]
Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Bea Arthur Nominated
1973 Nominated
1974 Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
1975 Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Bea Arthur Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Television Hermione Baddeley Won
1976 Adrienne Barbeau Nominated
1977 Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Bea Arthur Nominated
1998 Online Film & Television Association Awards Television Hall of Fame: Productions Inducted [37]
1973 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Norman Lear and Rod Parker Nominated [38]
Outstanding New Series Nominated
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series Bea Arthur Nominated
1974 Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
1976 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Hal Cooper (for "The Analyst") Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Jay Folb (for "The Analyst") Nominated
1977 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Bea Arthur (for "Maude's Desperate Hours") Won
Outstanding Art Direction or Scenic Design for a Comedy Series Chuck Murawski (for "Walter's Crisis: Part 1 & 2") Nominated
1978 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Bea Arthur Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Hal Cooper (for "Vivian's Decision") Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Comedy Series Chuck Murawski (for "The Wake") Nominated
2001 Producers Guild of America Awards PGA Hall of Fame – Television Won
2004 TV Land Awards Favorite Cantankerous Couple Bill Macy and Bea Arthur Nominated
Favorite Made for TV Maid Esther Rolle Nominated
1972 Writers Guild of America Awards Episodic Comedy Alan J. Levitt (for "Flashback") Nominated [39]
1973 Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf
(for "Walter's Problem: Part 1 & 2")

Syndication and streaming

Maude aired on TV Land in 1999 for a brief time, including an introductory "Maude-a-thon" marathon. Maude was later seen on Nick at Nite in the United States in 2001. Reruns of Maude are occasionally shown on Canwest's digital specialty channel, DejaView in Canada. In 2010, Maude began reruns in Chicago, on WWME-CA's Me-TV. In 2011, Maude began airing on Antenna TV, a digital broadcast network, which has since run the entire six season cycle of the show.

In 2015, reruns of Maude began airing on Logo TV during late night/early morning. It airs weeknights on FETV, Family Entertainment Television. As of April 2021, Maude is on CHCH TV in the Toronto (Hamilton) Ontario area as part of their afternoon retro sitcom lineup. It is available in a heavily edited format on the CTV app for free with ads as part of its “Throwback” library.

As of July 2021, Maude is available for streaming on Amazon Freevee.


Maude was adapted in Italy airing on Canale 5 in 1982.

Maude was adapted in France as Maguy [fr]. Maguy aired on Sundays at 19.30 from September 1985 to December 1994 on France 2 for 333 episodes.[40]

Maude had previously been adapted in 1980 by ITV in the United Kingdom as Nobody's Perfect.[41] Starring Elaine Stritch and Richard Griffiths, the show ran for two series with a total of 14 episodes. Of the 14 episodes, Stritch herself adapted 13 original Maude scripts and Griffiths adapted one.[42] The original series was screened by certain ITV companies.[43]


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  29. ^ "Maude - Shout! Factory Schedules 'The Complete 4th Season'". TV Shows On DVD (Press release). Shout! Factory. December 7, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-12-10.
  30. ^ "Maude - The Penultimate 'Complete 5th Season' Gets Scheduled for DVD!". TV Shows On DVD (Press release). Shout! Factory. March 1, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05.
  31. ^ "Maude - Shout! Factory's 'Complete 6th and Final Season' is Announced for DVD!". TV Shows On DVD (Press release). Shout! Factory. May 6, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-05-08.
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